John Christie on Investing in Private Islands

Private Island Investing - Third-Cay---HS10610

2016 has seen a welcome upsurge in the sale of private islands in The Bahamas, and I have had the good fortune of closing 80 per cent of them on behalf of HG Christie, exclusive Bahamas affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate.

There are a number of reasons for the increase. World stock markets are currently at record levels, and in my experience this inspires investors to look for ways to consolidate their assets and fulfil their dreams at the same time. Private islands tick both of those boxes. Owners who have been enjoying their islands for many years are also keen to realize the asset when the value of stocks is high, and are therefore more likely to align their prices with market expectation. The result is solid private island sales.

Over the years, the private island trade has proven its worth as a lucrative investment with some islands showing a tenfold increase in value over 20 years – often with very little cash outlay incurred to maintain the asset. Many of these islands remain completely undeveloped, and when it comes time to sell the owner simply reaps the rewards of an appreciating market.


Private Island Investing - Frozen+Alder Cay - BS10605

Key Considerations:

When searching for your dream island, the following considerations are key:

  1. Price
  2. Location
  3. Attributes

Budget is obviously the number one factor, since this determines the type of island you are able to buy. Closely linked with price is location. A popular area like The Exumas, for example, has limited availability which means prices are high. The lowest asking price in this area is currently around $7 million. If you are willing to be more remote the prices come down dramatically.

Every location has its pros and cons. In the Exumas, for instance, the beauty of the islands and water is spectacular, but amenities such as restaurants and food stores are rather sparse, as they tend to be spread out throughout Exuma’s 365 islands.

The Sea of Abaco, on the other hand, offers great boating and sailing as well as a number of boutique hotels and restaurants within a 20-minute boat ride of any of its copious islands.

The attributes of the island will determine its potential for development and/or resale. Important features are deep water which allow for boat docking, pretty beaches, and elevations significantly above sea level.

Every island location is unique and we have a lot to choose from in areas like the Berry Islands, the Eleutheras, Andros, San Salvador and more.


Private Island Investing - Pelican Cay AS12399

The Island Buying Process:

When you are ready to view your shortlist of islands, we will work on an itinerary together and choose an island-viewing route which could involve seaplanes, land-based charters, boats or helicopters. Depending on what islands we are looking at, the process could take anywhere from half a day to 3 days.

Once you have decided on an island the purchase process is similar to buying real estate anywhere in the world. Once your offer is accepted, a purchase and sale agreement is drawn up. At this point it is important to hire a reputable Bahamian attorney, and I will be happy to recommend a tried-and-true real estate attorney that you can trust. Once your contract is signed and a deposit is paid your attorney will apply for approved investment status with the Bahamas government. This is a simple but necessary process to validate the reputation of the buyer which is good for everyone involved.

Sales transfer taxes amount to 10 per cent of the purchase price of any real estate transaction in The Bahamas. The tax is shared equally by seller and buyer, which means you will pay 5 per cent over and above the cost of the purchase.


Private Island Investing - FrozenandAlder-Cay---BS10605

If you are thinking about buying an island, be sure to check out the options at

Investing in Private Islands - John Christie
John Christie

Please do not hesitate to call me any time on (242) 357-7572 to discuss the options and you will benefit from my 23 years-plus of Bahamas’ private island selling to help you make the right choice. You can also email me at You are about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime, and with HG Christie at the helm it is sure to be an experience you will treasure.



Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

14 + nineteen =